Challenged by newcomers proposing low-cost solutions, established MEMS companies must develop new strategies

Lyon, France –In 2013, the MEMS business showed an overall growth of 10.4%, reaching US$ 12B at the end of the year. “This expansion mainly results from the significant growth of the MEMS market for consumer application”, explains Yole Développement (Yole). However this trend is slowed down by the strong price pressure: -7% decrease price per year is announced by Yole’s analyst. What is the best strategy to meet with the success?

Yole Développement, the market research, technology and strategy consulting company, releases today one of its best sellers, Status of the MEMS Industry report. Describing and analyzing MEMS technologies & market trends, this report announces 2013-2019 market data covering more than 220 MEMS applications with an in-depth study of the industrial and strategic evolutions. Yole’s analysts give a relevant understanding of the challenges in term of design and manufacturing (size reduction, cost pressure, packaging issues…) and evolution for the next 5 to 10 years (new sensing principles and future manufacturing processes). They also analyze the evolution of main players’ strategy and the way they adapt themselves to the market changes.

According to Yole, 2013-2019 consumer market revenue will modestly grow reaching 13%, as a result of:
• A significant consumer applications volume growth: Yole’s analysts announce around 20% growth.
• A strong price pressure: in its report, Status of the MEMS Industry, 2014 edition, Yole claims -7% price decrease per year.

“STMicroelectronics while still producing at high volume, is struggling to stop the decrease of the price of its own products”

And although the MEMS sector achieved 10.4% overall growth in 2013, closing in on a US$12B business, established players are struggling to continue their usual consumer applications growth. ”If we look at the top MEMS players, we see that STMicroelectronics, while still producing at high volume, is struggling to stop the decrease of the price of its own products – even though it’s shown impressive growth over the last several years, and reached US$1B sales in 2012 – the first MEMS company to do so”, explains Dr Eric Mounier, Senior, Technology & Market Analyst, MEMS devices & technologies at Yole. Meanwhile, Texas Instruments’ DLP sales are flat, since pico projection applications are long to take off (at least for consumer applications), and the professional/commercial projection market is growing at slow speed. Also, Hewlett-Packard, the major inkjet heads player, has seen sales decline, as have most other inkjet heads companies.

Another characterization of the current MEMS industry is the fact that there is limited new, big companies entering the business. Instead, newcomers have opted for a fabless model, thus minimizing their infrastructure investments. mCube is one example of such company.
According to Yole, here are a few different ways that major MEMS companies can be more successful:
• MEMS product portfolio diversification This is the case for STMicroelectronics, Robert Bosch and now InvenSense. Meanwhile, Knowles is benefiting from the microphone business’s growth – however, as with other MEMS devices, this market could level off in the future, so product diversification could be an option for them as well.
• Sharing production infrastructure between multiple markets For example, Robert Bosch’s MEMS automotive business compensates for the low margin in its consumer activity. STMicroelectronics has also entered the automotive business, but with only modest success thus far.
• Outsourcing manufacturing InvenSense has shown impressive growth because, as a fabless company, its cost structure is less than other MEMS manufacturers. Also, with the market requiring increasingly complex sensing functions, software has become a critical part of the sensing module, especially for combos. Aim of this approach is to deliver functions and not devices. And Invensense’s acquisition of Movea in July 2014 confirms this trend.

More information about this report is available in the MEMS & Sensors reports section at

Suggested Articles

U.S. Commerce Department beefs up attacks on TikTok and WeChat, banning downloads at first. Eventually the bans will be total, unless some other agree

Analyst Jack Gold describes the TikTok battle as a big win for China.

Analyst Leonard Lee argues that if Nvidia can get regulatory approvals to buy Arm, the entity would be a challenge to Intel's data center dominance.…